The journey of an independent agent has a very similar story for most who have had a career in the insurance industry: After weeks/months of studying for your test, everything finally kicks off with a newly issued license in P&C, Life, and/or Health and it’s officially go-time. You find an agency willing to let you come in and get to work and away you go. From day one, you jump in the proverbial saddle and are expected to call, quote, and sell business. If you were to poll 100 agents and have them walk through their first year in the industry, they would most likely tell you that this was their story. “I was thrown into the fire and had to learn insurance on the fly”. But in those first few weeks, it becomes very clear what will end up being the biggest problem…where do all of the leads come from???
The following is a short story of generating 7-10 leads a day from former Marketing Director at Colorado Insurance and current CMO of GloveBox, Andy Mathisen.
I remember it like yesterday; I was walking into the very first mortgage office, by myself, to cold call on loan officers. What I didn't know when I walked inside the glass doors of that company, Ideal Home Loans, was that 25+ faces would simultaneously stare up at me as I approached the receptionist’s desk. That was the moment I questioned everything. This job, this tactic, this office, this moment. There's nothing like an office full of half-walled cubicles on the sales floor (the bullpen, as they call it…) This was my first chance to turn a room full of skeptical loan officers into my friends, my allies, and ultimately my referral partners.
"Hello how can I help you?" The receptionist said.
"Hey, how's it going, my name is Andy and I'm here to see a Blaze DeRoco." (this was me pulling a random name off of the roster on their website.)
"Sure thing, he's right over there in that corner if you want to go talk to him" pointed the receptionist.
Okay, wow, that was way easier than I thought. As I made my way over to his desk, he looked up at me. I remembered my lines..."Hey Blaze, I’m Andy Mathisen with Colorado Insurance. I just wanted to pop by and drop off a card and introduce myself. I'd love to eventually earn your business. But I don't want to take up any of your time today. I just wanted to shake your hand and put a name with a face"
To no surprise, Blaze had a pretty uninterested response, "Hey Andy, I appreciate that. I'm busy at the moment but thanks for stopping by." See, that right there is the typical response of anyone when they know that some insurance guy is dropping by the office. Little did Blaze know, I would be stopping by every week for as long as possible to try and EARN his business.
After a quick wrap up with Blaze, I drummed up all of the confidence I could muster to do it again. After all, I was already in the office and more than 25 opportunities were in front of me. I then stopped at the cubicle immediately behind me... "Hey, I'm Andy Mathisen with Colorado Insurance, I just wanted to pop by and drop off a card. I'd love to eventually earn your business..." as I spouted off the same statement from before. I continued to replicate this same script at least 18 more times while inside of the office that day. I'll admit, it was one of the most uncomfortable things I had to do. But when I walked out of the front door and into the car, I spread 15 business cards out on top of my dashboard. With a huge smile on my face, I had officially kicked off my referral partner network.
Talk about a rookie moment. But this is what it took to get some activity in my lead generation journey. I ultimately forced myself to continue this process over and over again with 5 offices a day (minimum) and 4-5 days a week. It became my goal to have 150 loan officers on a spreadsheet that I would inevitably groom to send me leads. By the way, if you are an insurance agent and you're not aiming for mortgage broker leads, you need to contact me ASAP, I have a plan for you.
After building a long list of potential partners, I would label them as A, B, or C based on our conversations/relationship. My mission was to visit these offices once a week every week or at least until I was their guy. This routine would go on for a while, 25 offices a week, 100 offices a month, for as long as I can remember. Within a year, I was generating 7-10 leads a day and north of 150 per month. I kid you not, I got to a point where I couldn't respond to emails fast enough. I had to take the lead, introduce myself to the client, transfer it to an agent, and make sure the referral partner knew they were in good hands. It was ingrained in me to stick to the process and it paid off 10 fold. Those were some crazy days.
Now that being said, I realize the position I had was made up of lead generation 24/7. Most of you reading that story know the sales process is only beginning from that point. You still need to take the same lead and call, quote, sell, submit, process, and possibly even service the client. But my point is this, regardless of how much time you have to spend on lead generation, the floodgates will open up when you become dedicated to your process. I say it all the time, it's about being consistent and persistent! Be better than your competition by showing up to your referral partners office as much as you can and EARN the opportunity. And don't forget, you need to ask for the opportunity everytime.
Take the first few months of your insurance career and dedicate it to building your referral partner network. If you build it, the leads will come. If you want to know more about my story and the details of how it became so much so fast, schedule some time with me and we can chat.